Creating my own Art Materials

Today was wonderful. I was exhausted after an incredibly long week supporting Star following her knee surgery on Tuesday. Poppy has also been having trouble with a persistent cough that makes her vomit, so I’ve been pretty stretched and short on sleep. Today I got up, did a bit of cleaning, helped Star settle into her day after a tough start, gathered a list of supplies from my garden, and dashed off to a sustainable artist workshop by Alana Gregory. I had a ball!

We made our own inks, charcoal, and fixative, and got to play with them all. It was a wealth of information on foraging, different ways to process plant based materials and their pros and cons, various mordants, binders, and preservatives. We only scratched the surface of a very complex and involved topic, but I feel that it was such a thorough introduction I’ve come home feeling confident to experiment further and grow my skills and knowledge. I’d read a little about some of these techniques before but never had the confidence to just start playing with the materials. Now that I’ve had a whole day of play with a delightful tutor the ice is well and truly broken and I’ll never look at geraniums quite the same way!

Crushing flower petals to release dye

We made inks today with geranium and hibiscus blooms, ironbark bark, pomegranate skins, mistletoe, and red cabbage leaves.

Ironwood ink stewing

We mixed the inks with a variety of products and recorded the results. This was our tutors repurposed book, isn’t it gorgeous? She’s attached samples of dyed cloth all through an old book no longer wanted, with notes in the margins. Just lovely.

We hand made our own brushes, using weird and wonderful materials we’d foraged, bound with thin strips of fresh flax. I made one with a bunch of sea daisies, sprigs of fennel, a feather, one of my dreadlocks, leaves from my peppercorn tree Gandalf, and some mad plant that’s self sown in the front garden.

The feather and the sea daises were especially wonderful. Here’s a large artwork where I was playing with it all:

A lovely end to the week. I’ve come home refreshed and looking forward to spending time with my girls. I’ve written this post whole supervising bath time, and I’m going to make pancakes for dessert tonight. Life is just so full and rich lately. I’m in love with it.

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